Economic Tidbits

German Pork Problems

A September finding of African Swine Fever (ASF) in a wild boar in Germany has caused disorder in world pork markets. The outbreak, now up to 240 cases, along with the effects on demand from COVID-19, has resulted in plummeting hog prices in Germany. Bloomberg reports hog prices in Germany at one time were down 40 percent compared to price levels in March. Germany is one of the world’s top pork exporters and ranked second in pork exports to China in 2019. In response, China, along with several other importing nations, banned pork imports from Germany.

China, still recovering from its own ASF outbreak, remains one of the world’s largest pork importers. Herd rebuilding is occurring in the country, but the domestic supply cannot meet Chinese consumer demand. According to the Meat Export Federation (MEF), the value of U.S. pork exports in 2020 through the first three quarters of the year were 16 percent ahead of last year. Exports to China/Hong Kong, though, were 120 percent above last year, valued at $1.83 billion. The surge comes despite a 25 percent tariff China placed on U.S. pork in retaliation to the U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum.

For Nebraska, the surge in pork exports this year is good news for Platte County. Nebraska Farm Bureau trade estimates found pork is the top export commodity for the county. The estimates also showed pork exports are important contributors to export value in Boone, Holt, Cuming, Colfax, and Custer Counties. A bit of good news for pork producers who were caught in the middle of the COVID-19 supply chain disruptions earlier this year.

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